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Act now to eradicate deadly diseases

One would imagine that modern medicine, with its bug-battling capabilities, would make short work of common diseases. Yet, outbreaks of dengue and tuberculosis regularly strike the city. Not just ordinary citizens, doctors too are among the most hit by these two diseases.

Of course, hospitals are known for being germ hotspots and it is not surprising therefore that doctors themselves are catching the diseases they seek to conquer. But there is a great deal that can be done, non-medically speaking, to curb the spread of these and other diseases. And doing so is a need that is growing more urgent with every season.

Dengue has already claimed a dozen lives this year. More than 600 people have been affected and municipal officials have found many more breeding grounds of the Aedes mosquito, which spreads dengue.

Tuberculosis is another treatable and common disease which, with some simple precautions in place, should not spread. But it is spreading, infecting new people and even doctors. Moreover, TB appears with every new outbreak in a new, more virulent and increasingly multi-drug-resistant form.

Controlling the spread of these diseases is a responsibility for the government and the municipality, yes. But there is also a certain degree of responsibility upon us citizens.

TB is an air-borne disease that spreads through droplets - via coughing and spitting, for example — and controlling it is a matter of self-discipline. Controlling the spread of vector-borne diseases, such as malaria and dengue, is a matter of being diligent about not letting mosquitoes breed. Stagnant water must be treated like a pool of poison, and just not allowed to accumulate. The culprits for stagnant water are many — civic authorities who fail to clear blocked drainage, construction supervisors who ignore the tanks and other receptacles of water that lie untouched, and just plain people who store water and sometimes forget that we have done so.

The municipality needs to become more aggressive in its awareness campaign. Just as every cigarette packet carries a deadly warning, perhaps every wall should carry one. Whether it will work remains to be seen, considering that we assign to ourselves the unshakeable right to do as we please, regardless of rules or even common sense.  

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